Benedikt Sobotka, CEO of Eurasian Resources Group, encouraged the use of blockchain technology in the global cobalt market

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Benedikt Sobotka: minerals used to produce batteries should be sourced in ethical way

Cobalt is a major component of lithium-ion batteries which power both mobile devices and electric vehicles. Demand for the material is rising and it is important to ensure that it is serviced in a responsible manner and that illegal child labour is eradicated from the sector and from the countries in which the material is found including the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Tracking cobalt along the value chain is a complex process involving a number of phases and stakeholders and different businesses have different visions of information sharing. This asymmetry may present a potential challenge.

A solution by IBM and Eurasian Resources Group

In 2018 Eurasian Resources Group announced that it would be piloting a blockchain-based solution that would sit on the IBM Blockchain Platform to help enhance the provenance and traceability of cobalt in the metal’s supply chain.

Further to the launch of the Global Battery Alliance at the inaugural World Economic Forum Sustainable Development Impact Summit in September 2017, the CEO of Eurasian Resources Group and co-chair of the initiative, Benedikt Sobotka elaborated on the potential of batteries that power the Fourth Industrial Revolution. A number of large Central and Western European cities are already phasing out petrol-fuelled cars. The materials that power these batteries should be sourced in a sustainable way with due regard to local communities and the natural and social environment.

Clean and ethical minerals for batteries production

Eurasian Resources Group’s blockchain-based solution will further help enshrine the principles of responsible sourcing and production, which are part and parcel of the Group’s mission and that of the World Economic Forum’s Global Battery Alliance.

Piloted at ERG’s Metalkol RTR project and built on the IBM Blockchain Platform, the innovative solution will aim to ensure the traceability of cobalt. Metalkol RTR is ERG’s hydrometallurgical plant in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and has a target capacity of 24ktpa of cobalt and 120ktpa of copper, and will make ERG one of the largest cobalt suppliers globally.

The CEO of Eurasian Resources Group, Benedikt Sobotka, welcomed the solution highlighting that cobalt is a material of the future and it is imperative that it is sourced in a sustainable manner and to the highest standards. There might be potential for the blockchain solution to be applied to other battery metals.

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